We asked our sales team and many others to give us their 10 requirements for every Key Account Plan to ensure success. After reviewing their responses here are the top 10.
1. Customer’s Goal and Objectives
It’s imperative to know and understand the customer’s short term and long-term goals and objectives. This ensures your overall key account plan is in sync and aligns with the customer.
A standardized list of objectives for the account, what must be accomplish to drive customer success and revenue. Also, being able to track each one based on a colored-codes system and provide coaching advice for each objective
3. Customer’s Buying Process
Know and understand the customer's buying process basically, “How is the customer going buy what we are selling them, what is their process?” Ask yourself this basic question: How does the customer buy? If, you can't answer, then how are you going to sale to them? Knowing the customer’s buying process and who at the customer is responsible for each process is critical for success. All you have to do is ask the customer they will share their process with you.
4. Customer Initiatives (White Space / Green Field)
Mapping customer initiatives back to your products or solutions, ensure you will have a healthy pipeline. Not only do you need to know their initiatives but also what products or solutions are you going to propose, time-frame, customer contact and potential revenue. You can consider customer initiatives as “pre-pipeline”. It’s more qualified than a lead but not quit an opportunity yet. This also a great way to stay in front of your competition.
5. Account Milestones
Milestones allow you to track key “To-Does” within an account. Not only identifying them but also assigning them if necessary to other team members. For example: Schedule a Roadmap discussion with the customer. It’s likely that only product managers can give a road-map presentation to a customer. Milestones allow you to task (inform) the product manager of an upcoming presentation.
6. Red Flags
Red flags are potential “Gotachs” in an account. Not only identifying the Red Flag but also creating a mitigation plan for each.
7. Document Every Meeting
Scheduling meetings with customers is hard enough, so when you get one make sure you document it. Not just notes but who, what, when and why. This is the 'Sales Intelligence' required to maintain a strong healthy relationship.
8. Customer Team
Who is the customer team, what are their titles, responsibilities, stance and role. Have you every met with them and if so, what do you know about them. Getting a clear picture of the customer team is key, uncovering the relationships in the team is critical.
9. SWOT Analysis
Using the 'Sales Intelligence' and other information, a real-time sales intelligence a SWOT Analysis it one of the most important pieces of the account plan. It provides a clear view of your strengths, weaknesses, obstacles, objections, red flags and opportunities in the account.
10. Organizational Map
It’s key to understand the organizational make-up of your key accounts. Not only the reporting structure but the Stance (opinion) and Role of each contact based on the last interaction you or your team had with them.
Once the 10 requirements for every key account plan are met there should be two documents created. The Action Plan and the overall Playbook for the key account.
An Action Plan must include the following: what must to be accomplished, based on your plan. It does not include what has been accomplished or completed. In addition, key players (stance and role) are included. This is a very short and to the point document.
The playbook is the entire plan in a PDF or other readable format. Playbooks are great for in-depth account reviews with your team or management.
In closing, by creating a key account plan allows you to work strategically with key accounts, you become a 'Trusted Advisor Not Just Another Vendor". We would love your feedback and what are your requirements for key accounts. If your moving to managing key account strategy and working on your requirements, give us a call we would love to assist in your success.